Niraj Chandra, director, Atul Auto Ltd, showcasing the concept model of the smart auto rickshaw at Auto Expo 2016, New Delhi
After Mahindra and Terra Motors, now Rajkot-based listed three wheeler major Atul Auto Limited will be launching four seater passenger e-rickshaw in January next year.
Initially, the company will produce the e-rickshaw at its Rajkot plant, for which the company plans to invest about Rs 5 crore for setting up an assembly line. Later on, Atul Auto will begin manufacturing the same from its upcoming Ahmedabad facility once it is operational.
The e-rickshaw market size in India is estimated at 100,000 units, typically priced in the range of Rs 70,000-80,000 per unit.
Ahead of the launch, the company, for the first time, will showcase it in Ahmedabad on October 2 at the electric vehicle exhibition.
"There is huge potential in e-rickshaw segment and that's why we have decided to enter in it. After government has made changes in registration last year, we have asked our research and development team to work on it. Within very short time we saw success in it and therefore are now planning to launch it by end of January in 2017," said Jitendra Adhia, president (finance) of Atul Auto.
"We will first produce the e-rickshaw at our Rajkot plant where, since the infrastructure is ready, we need to only set up a separate assembly line. For this we will spend about Rs 5 crore. Further, on the basis of demand, we may also produce the rickshaw at our Ahmedabad plant which may commence in next two years," Adhia said.
To begin with, Atul Auto will introduce passenger e-rickshaw, and later, based on the market response and demand, it may introduce cargo e-rickshaw after some time.
"We are in no hurry. First we will observe the demand and responses from users and then gradually increase production of e-rickshaw. Currently, we have plans for only passenger segment but after some time, we may introduce it in cargo segment too," Adhia added.
The company is also working on a 'smart' auto rickshaw, a prototype of which was showcased by Atul Auto in March this year at the Auto Expo 2016 held in New Delhi. The company is planning to manufacture smart rickshaws, equipped with GPS and Wi-Fi facility from its Ahmedabad plant.
As part of its expansion plans, the company is setting up a new production facility near Ahmedabad in Gujarat which will double its total production capacity.
"The new manufacturing unit near Ahmedabad will carry an annual production capacity of about 60,000 units per annum. Once it is commissioned, our production capacity will be nearly 100,000 units from current 48,000 units that comes from our Rajkot facility," said Adhia.
Atul Auto is investing around Rs 150 crore for the expansion, with the new facility likely to commence operations by end of March 2018. Meanwhile, it has also increased its production capacity to 60,000 units per annum from 48,000 units in July 2015, while the current utilisation stands at around 75 per cent.